Lynn Pasquerella, a philosopher and medical ethicist and the current provost at the University of Hartford, was named the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College.
Trustees of the world's oldest women's college selected Pasquerella on Saturday, following a unanimous recommendation by a 16-member search committee. She was scheduled to be introduced to the Mount Holyoke Community during a ceremony on Monday, but will not officially assume the presidency until July 1, 2010.
Pasquerella will succeed Joanne Creighton, who is stepping down at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year.
Pasquerella said she was honored and privileged to return to the South Hadley, Mass., campus that "transformed" her life. She received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke in 1980 and noted that while the college's "distinctive mission" remains unchanged, the school had become more diverse over the last three decades.
"There's much more diversity with respect to the student body and the faculty. It's a very international campus these days and that is one of our strengths," she said Monday.
The Connecticut native earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Brown University and was a professor for 19 years at the University of Rhode Island. In 2004, she became the associate dean of URI's graduate school and was later named vice provost for research and dean of the graduate school.
She was named provost and chief academic officer at Hartford in 2008.
Pasquerella said she plans to make Mount Holyoke part of a research team she leads with the Africa Center for Engineering Social Solutions, an organization that seeks to improve living conditions and promote entrepreneurship for women in an AIDS-ravaged portion of Kenya.
Founded in 1837, Mount Holyoke was the first and one of five remaining "Seven Sisters," a group of prestigious and academically-rigorous liberal arts colleges for women in the Northeast.
This program aired on November 2, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.